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Graphics Settings Guide


Some of you may not be so graphics inclined so here is a guide to what each setting does. These are just short simple explanations. If you want more in depth info, just google it. You can also put your mouse over the setting (the scroll bar or checkbox) as some of them have a tooltip. *Most everything in game also has a tooltip, not just settings.* I have also put in blue what hardware it most affects but this is general for all games, not specifically tested on WT.

Launcher Settings

At the top you will see resolution, fullscreen (or windowed and full window), vsync, sound and graphics presets. Next to the graphics presets you will see a button with a gear on it, this is how you get to advanced settings.

Vsync - Syncs your monitor's refresh rate with the game's refresh rate. I'd suggest only turning this on if you are experiencing tearing as it increases input lag.

Anisotropy - Texture quality dependent on range and viewing angle. The farther and steeper it is the lower the quality. (vram)
post-13776-0-26638300-1361214439_thumb.j
Antialiasing - AA is used to get rid of jagged edges. This is multisampling AA. (gpu, vram. AA is probably the most taxing setting)
Extra AA - Just another AA type, this is FXAA. The difference is MSAA smooths only the edges of geometry while FXAA will smooth the whole screen. It is less taxing but also makes everything blurry.
Texture quality - Textures are the images on geometry, this will affect the level of detail of those images. Fyi geometry is the 3D model. (vram)
Shadow quality - Level of detail of shadows. (gpu. Shadows is one of the more taxing settings)
Background resolution - The background level of detail. Changing this will change the quality of everything farther away which is pretty much everything except your plane. Unless of course when you are landed. (everything)
Terrain resolution - The level of detail of the ground. Supersampling is similar to MSAA (which is a type of SSAA) but it doesn't seem to do anything. (everything)
Trees range - The distance at which tree geometry will show. (cpu, gpu)
Grass - The amount of grass shown. (cpu, gpu)
post-13776-0-14822900-1361214682_thumb.j
Clouds resolution - The level of detail of the clouds.
post-13776-0-21526100-1361214488_thumb.j

Shadows - The plane's cast shadow. (gpu)
Self Reflection - The plane's reflection onto itself. (gpu)
Objects shadows - Other objects shadows which is everything except your own plane. (gpu)
Water reflections - Reflections on the water. (gpu)
Advanced Shore - Waves near shores. (gpu)
Motion Blur - Blurring when moving. (gpu)
Haze - Atmospheric effect as objects are farther in the distance, they become foggy. Note that there still is haze with it off. (gpu)
Soft particles - Softens particles when clipping. Particles are effects like smoke, fire, dust, etc. Clipping is when geometry intersect. (cpu)
post-13776-0-05791000-1361214696_thumb.j
FX reflections - Reflections of effects. (gpu)

Terrain far details - Higher detail terrain in the distance.

JPEG screenshots - Save screenshots as jpeg as opposed to tga.
Old videocards support - For if you have an old video card that is showing graphic anomalies or is very weak. The most noticeable difference is low settings you will still notice everything on the ground still has a shadow and this will turn those shadows off. That is probably the biggest change in performance. Other noticeable changes are significantly lower ground textures, water is no longer transparent, and less haze. 

These debug settings are really more for debugging.
Render - I thought this would change directx version but it doesn't on my windows 7. Since it is under debugging than it is safe to say that that is what it is for.
Instancing - Many objects, especially trees, use the same geometry and textures so get "duplicated" to save resources. If it is off, each one uses its own resources even though they are still "duplicates." It may not make sense, but it's more of a coding thing. I'd suggest leaving it on auto unless it is causing graphic issues.

In Game Post FX Settings

You can see these settings easily in game (preferably test flight), just set it to its minimum and then maximum for the most noticeable effect or click the arrows through the various selections. *For the ones with a bar, you can also double click and hold to drag up and down.* These are really just for video editing and don't have much affect on performance, except for FXAA, so I will not go into detail. If you are a video editor you should understand these.

Vignette - A black "glow" on the outer edges of the screen.
FXAA - Same as extra aa in launcher settings.
Sharpen (TPS [Third Person Shooter], Gunner, Bomber, Cockpit) - Sharpens the whole image shown on screen.
LUT texture - Color schemes.
Tonemapping mode - Levels, similar to brightness and contrast.

(You will notice most settings affect the gpu as most games are gpu bound. The cpu just needs to be fast enough to feed the gpu. So this blue represents what is most affected since in raising gpu usage, it also raises cpu usage. In other games the cpu does some graphics calculations. I suspect ai calculations to be done by the cpu like other games so cpu should affect fps more in single player missions. Cpu should also deal with other players location/direction tracking, and physics but this is also dependent on internet since it has to sync with the server. If you lag even your own plane will jump/teleport or be uncontrollable.)

Here's a comparison of low vs custom (true max) settings. You can't truely max the game unless it is custom. Max or movie presets are not really max. Really the most noticeable differences is just textures and cloud resolution. **You can also see the other graphic options that I didn't post a picture for.** (There wasn't much difference in cpu usage, 5% increase at most. But gpu usage was 50% on low and 100% on max.)
post-13776-0-55892300-1361214627_thumb.j

 

Here's min vs low.

post-13776-0-05964100-1361393816_thumb.j

 

By editing the config file you can get high res clouds, textures, and AF x16 with "old videocard support" on. But everything else is still overridden to min even though the config says they are on. Some ground textures are still ultra low. Just open the config.blk in notepad and change:

graphicsQuality:t="user"

compatibilityMode:b=yes

Then start the game from aces.exe. If you use the launcher, the config file gets overwritten. 

*Thanks Al3xander*

***
Useful links -
Hierarchy charts for when they release requirements or at least compare specs for now.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107-7.html Gpu hierarchy chart (mostly desktop models, updated monthly)
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,3106-5.html Desktop cpu hierarchy chart (updated monthly)
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benchmark-List.844.0.html Mobile gpu hierarchy chart (can show some desktop models but I find those are not accurate in comparison to mobile models)
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Processors-Benchmarklist.2436.0.html Mobile cpu hierarchy chart
*I have played the game on an intel hd 3000 which is about the minimum for low (just a personal opinion for now).


***
The available graphics settings has changed over the versions so this is subject to change. Hopefully I might find out what everything does exactly and what exact hardware it affects pertaining to WT. If something isn't clear enough just say so.

**Posting in general discussion because flight academy is for gameplay and this is not a technical issue for graphics. It really belongs in FAQs which no one can post in. It would be nice to resurrect the old FAQs threads and put them in there as well. But then again FAQs should be pins in general discussion, not its own section.**

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medal

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+1 and thanks for the informative post. I'll bookmark it and refer others to this thread.

 

 

 

Edit -- You didn't cover what supersampling is. Still a good post though.  :good:

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I did but it was a typo I put multi instead of super, it is in with terrain resolution because that it what it pertains to...kind of. Fixed.

medal

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Guest Nectaria

AA really hits hard on the FPS, I turned it off (but kept FXAA) and gained 20FPS at average, without real graphical loss imo.

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I uncheck "Seed after download" every time, yet when I start the launcher it's checked again. I don't want people stealing my bandwidth downloading the game while I'm playing other games or when flying WT. Is there a way to turn it off all the time?

medal

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I hope that that WT coming in the list of this nividia tool ,so that it put my game automatic in the best performes in future.

Have do it whit some other game,s and the performes of my games run smooht whit my system ride now

 

 

http://www.geforce.com/drivers/geforce-experience?id=hp-promo

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I have object shadows (buildings, trees) but no planes or ships shadows at the movie quality... why?

Is it hardware problem?

What gpu? I don't think I could really help if it is a bug. 

 

I uncheck "Seed after download" every time, yet when I start the launcher it's checked again. I don't want people stealing my bandwidth downloading the game while I'm playing other games or when flying WT. Is there a way to turn it off all the time?

This is a graphics thread so is off topic somewhat but it should only seed with the launcher open. The option is currently bugged that it turns back on. 

medal

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And none of it affects CPU, only GPU, interesting...

medal

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Great post. +1 :good:

 

For people using FXAA, I'd recommend raising the sharpness levels. I have all my levels (except gunner) set to 3. It makes the image more crisp without being intrusive.

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I have a question:

 

Normally, when I play the game on the lowest settings (with the "old videocards support" option checked) I can easily reach up to 70 fps, and in normal situations around 50-60.

If I deselect that button, and turn everything to low, it stays around 30-40 fps, and it can get as low as 20 on some maps.

 

Why does this happens, what changes does that button do, except lowering everything to minimum? Does it lower the shader quality?

Is it possible to change the settings in a config file? I would like to increase the texture quality, clouds resolution, ground resolution, while keeping that setting checked.

 

I am currently playing on a old laptop, that has a integrated GeForce GT 120M with 2gb of ram, 4Gb of DDR2 memory, and a Intel Pentium Dual-Core T4200 at 2ghz

 

Edit:

After looking around in the game files, I found the config. In order to do what I said before, modify the game's settings to the ones you want WITHOUT selecting the "old videocards support" option. Close the launcher, then go into the root game folder, and open the config file using a text editor (notepad for ex).

 

The following options should be changed to this:

graphicsQuality:t="user"

compatibilityMode:b=yes

 

After that, proceed to start the game using aces.exe, not the launcher. Your settings should remain to the ones you changed, with the compatibility mode on, until you open the launcher.

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I knew the config file gets overwritten as soon as you click play but I didn't think to start it from aces.exe. You can get get high res clouds, textures, and AF x16 but everything else is still overridden to min even though the config says they are on. Some ground textures are still ultra low. 

 

The most noticeable difference with old video card option is low settings you will still notice everything on the ground still has a shadow and min those shadows are gone. That is probably the biggest change in performance. Other noticeable changes are significantly lower ground textures, water is no longer transparent, and less haze. 

 

I will add this to the guide.

medal

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Is there a guide how to tweak the settings in the "config.blk" for more eyecandy? In this file there is for example: highQualityModels:b=no (i set everything to highest.. so i wonder why this says no) cloudsTexDiv:i=4 (maybe cloud resolution 4k?.. could i set this to 8 or will this do nothing) enemiesQuality:t="low" (.. again everything maxed and it says low?) Also the launcher setting "instancing" means what? (also geom and tex?) Someone for sure knows this stuff.

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Instancing has always been in the guide. I did not mention other settings in the config file because the ones not in the launcher don't do anything. They are simply not implemented. You can change clipmapscale which is terrain resolution but the others don't do anything when they are higher than the launcher's max. The clouds are still blocky even on the highest setting so I'd be surprised if it were even 1024. You can't magically upscale a texture. 

 

I was thinking of talking about the config file settings but it really just isn't worth it. The only reason I even decided to mentioned the config was for the old video card option. It is just ignorant to have shadows always on and force people to lower textures to an insanely ugly res just to turn it off.

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medal

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Instancing has always been in the guide. I did not mention other settings in the config file because the ones not in the launcher don't do anything. They are simply not implemented. You can change clipmapscale which is terrain resolution but the others don't do anything when they are higher than the launcher's max. The clouds are still blocky even on the highest setting so I'd be surprised if it were even 1024. You can't magically upscale a texture. 

 

I was thinking of talking about the config file settings but it really just isn't worth it. The only reason I even decided to mentioned the config was for the old video card option. It is just ignorant to have shadows always on and force people to lower textures to an insanely ugly res just to turn it off.

 

Ok thx, but what does geom/tex mean and does one of those 2 improve grafics?

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Geom is geometry and tex is textures. Is it really that hard to understand what I wrote for instancing? I don't mean to sound rude but I just need to change it if it is. I slightly changed it, not sure if that helps.

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medal

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